Operating Systems

Capacity planning today is anything but “business as usual.” Forward-thinking organizations are already redefining capacity planning as “capacity management” because performing capacity work effectively in an environment that will feature on-demand provisioning and private cloud services involves more than just looking at MIPS consumption for annual budget planning.

The movement to private cloud compels some rethinking about how IT is organized. IT staff and resources must now support business services and accompanying Service Level Agreements (SLAs). If IT is to rally staff and resources around business service support, departmental functions historically isolated must come together under each service, whether they originate from CICS, DB2, WebSphere MQ, network management, mainframe, or distributed platforms. Staff members responsible for these functions must collaborate to plan for and execute delivery of business applications and services across many platforms. Their success requires capacity planning and measurement tools that provide both broad and granular visibility.

Where Capacity Planning Fits

Capacity planning is a component of capacity management, which also encompasses resource optimization, tuning, and performance reporting. More companies realize capacity management offers much greater value when actively used in ways that transcend capacity planning.

A strong business case supports this philosophical change. SLAs, which often accompany the move to private cloud implementations and a business service delivery approach in IT, are forcing IT to focus on how its resources are delivered. Part of this process is ensuring there’s adequate service level resource capacity. Where capacity is insufficient, IT must address it. Resource capacity planning also emerges when unplanned upgrades are necessary, as in the case of a business acquisition or introduction of a new line of business.

Because of these and other factors, more companies are re-evaluating the role capacity planning plays and coordinating the effort with the adoption of Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices.

The Impact of zEnterprise

The new zEnterprise cross-platform management capabilities enabled by the IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager (zManager) with its firmware-level integration present capabilities that are further enhanced with end-to-end application management software. The introduction of these capabilities as organizations adopt private cloud implementations has raised awareness that capacity management should occur at the business service level, regardless of the platforms a given application crosses, and organizations should take a broad view of the process. This is a step forward from traditional approaches where capacity planning was limited to individual subsystems such as DB2, CICS or WebSphere MQ, or to individual platforms such as mainframe and distributed systems. The more holistic approach now emerging considers the impact on overall infrastructure service delivery to the business. zEnterprise is a natural enabler to this approach, which facilitates the service orientation private cloud computing demands.

Systems management software for zEnterprise includes unified toolsets that let all staff experts, whether they command DB2, CICS or some other area of IT infrastructure, use the same information and customize it on individual dashboards. This makes it easier for IT departments to collaborate on service delivery and manage capacity. A common toolset and common data eliminate the potential for confusion that can occur when disparate tools and results measurement methodologies are used.

As IT breaks down silos and migrates to enterprisewide capacity management that’s done at the business level, capacity planning and management can effectively be deployed to model future business scenarios, too. It could work like this:

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